Commentary

Unmasking the lie: Circumcision, sex and HIV/Aids

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By Gawaya Tegulle

Posted  Saturday, December 12  2009 at  12:05

In Summary

As we speak, billions of shillings have been sank into programmes about circumcision, telling every Ugandan that this is the new miraculous discovery that will keep them safe. This lie needs to be unmasked and exposed, because we are playing with fire.

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A few days ago I found it necessary to restate my position, calmly and quietly, that my sons – two so far – should under no circumstances be circumcised. Two very simple and I am persuaded, logical reasons.

First, while I respect the standpoint of those who argue for circumcision, I personally do not believe in it. Circumcision is such a personal affair; nobody has the right to decide for anybody else whether or not they should undergo it. And since kids are too young to appreciate the merits (probably lack of them) of a matter as personal and important as losing their foreskin, I argue that it is improper for somebody else (parent though they be) to make that decision for them, unless it is a medical emergency that has implications on their immediate survival or potency.
If as adults they decide to submit to the knife, that is their responsibility.

The other reason is that the advocates of circumcision in Uganda today are advancing very lame, wrong and wholly incompetent reasons for it. Their message is two-fold: that circumcision will help protect men from contracting HIV – the virus that causes Aids.
Secondly we are told that circumcision promotes hygiene among men. As we speak, billions of shillings have been sank into programmes about circumcision, telling every Ugandan that this is the new miraculous discovery that will keep them safe. This lie needs to be unmasked and exposed, because we are playing with fire.

Who in their right mind would believe that a man can have unprotected sexual intercourse with an infected woman and come out intact just because he is circumcised?

Any argument about how hardened a circumcised male organ is and how it is able to withstand whatever period of sexual intercourse and emerge without scratches and therefore without possibility of infection is purely academic…and deadly.

The truth behind circumcision is that it is just a new excuse invented by unscrupulous and incompetent scientists, plus bureaucrats in the United Nations, African governments and civil society to eat free money. They have not told us who did the research, what methodology they employed or which experimentation humans they used.

In the end therefore the current campaign for circumcision has nothing to do with your health and safety. It is all about people making money.

Our young men will now believe that you can sleep with whoever it is and you’ll be safe just because you are circumcised. And they will die. Our girls will be told “I am circumcised” and they will presume they are safe. And they will die. Strange enough, the protagonists of circumcision argue that it affords only a 60 per cent chance at best of avoiding the virus and that circumcision should be used “in combination” with other safety measures such as condom use.

I think the ABC strategy that Uganda had adopted is good enough to help us fight Aids. Abstain from sex, or Be faithful to your (one) partner or if push comes to shove, use a condom. For hygiene I will encourage my sons to take a bath regularly. I will also take them through another course on how a man ought to keep himself clean.
For now I find it important to put the country on notice: we are being duped and as your kids bleed all the way from hospital, a small clique is laughing all the way to the bank.

Mr Tegulle is a social and political commentator
gtegulle@gmail.com
www.tegulle.com/blog